Journey with us...

Journey with us...

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Happy Feast of St. John Paul II!

To celebrate, I want to share with you a reflection for Our Holy Sainted Father on the Sacred Heart of Jesus, taken from the Angelus reflections on the Litany to the Sacred Heart.

 Angelus, Sunday 9 July 1989:

"'Heart of Jesus, substantially united to the Word of God, have mercy on us.' The expression 'Heart of Jesus' immediately calls to mind the humanity of Christ, and emphasizes the richness of his feelings, his compassion towards the sick; his preference for the poor; his mercy towards sinners; his tenderness towards children; his strength in denouncing hypocrisy, pride, violence; his meekness in front of his opponents; his zeal for the glory of the Father and his jubilation in the mysterious and providential workings of grace.

With reference to the facts of the Passion, the expression “Heart of Jesus” then draws out the sadness of Christ at the betrayal by Judas, the discouragement of his loneliness, his agony before death, his filial and obedient abandonment into the hands of the Father. And it speaks above all of the love which flows unceasingly from within him: infinite love towards the Father and love without limits towards man.

Now, this Heart so humanly rich, “is united – the Litany reminds us – to the Person of the Word of God”. Jesus is the Word of God incarnate; in him there is only one person – the eternal person of the word - subsisting in two natures, the divine and the human. Jesus is one, in the indivisible reality of his being and is, at the same time, perfect in his divinity, perfect in our humanity; he is equal to the Father, in all that concerns his divine nature, equal to us, with regard to human nature; true Son of God and true Son of man. The Heart of Jesus then, from the moment of the Incarnation, has been and always will be united to the Person of the Word of God.

Through the union of the Heart of Jesus to the Person of the Word of God we can say: in Jesus, God loves humanly, suffers humanly, rejoices humanly. And vice versa: in Jesus, human love, human suffering, human glory acquire divine intensity and power.

Gathered, dear brothers and sisters, for the prayer of the Angelus, let us contemplate with Mary the Heart of Jesus. The Virgin lived in faith, day after day, next to her Son Jesus: she knew that the flesh of her Son had flourished in her virginal womb; but she knew that because he was “the Son of the Most High" (Lk 1, 32), he infinitely transcended her: the Heart of her Son was, in fact, “united to the Person of the Word”. Hence she loved him as her Son and, at the same time, adored him as her Lord and God. May she grant us also to love and adore Christ, God and man, above all things, “with all our heart, with all our soul and with all our mind”. In this way, following her example, we will be the object of the divine and human predilections of the heart of her Son." 

 (cited from

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Feel like your life is upside-down? Let God speak to you through Nature.

Did you ever have a time in your life where you felt like you were hanging by your last thread?  Everything around you seems to be upside down and you are stuck with no way out? 
These times can come and go in our lives, even in the spiritual life.  We feel like we are making no progress in prayer or it seems useless and so very confusing.  So what can we do when these situations are upon us? 

Recently, I have been learning about St. Ignatius of Loyola’s rules for discernment.  These rules are based upon 2 basic “states”: Consolation and Desolation.  Without getting into too much detail, consolation is when our emotions, reactions, and prayer feel peaceful and productive.  Its when we “enjoy” the spiritual life, it feels fruitful, and we experience the goodness of God.  Desolation is just the opposite: prayer and God seem very far away and our spiritual state can sometimes feel like that first sentence… upside down and unproductive. 

So, what can you do when you feel this way?  When everything in you seems to want to avoid prayer and God?  Or you are simply so confused that you feel helpless? 

You wait.

Over the past two months I have had the opportunity to fulfill a life-long dream from my childhood.  While I was taking my afternoon walk in the meadow, I observed a monarch butterfly carefully scanning the plants and leaves.  This little monarch then stopped briefly on a small sapling.  Ah!  Delight of my heart, I had just witnessed the laying of an egg! 

I received permission (to my jubilant surprise) to collect a few of these eggs and raise them!  Each one received its own little habitat (ok, I placed the plant clipping into a plastic water bottle) and off we went!  I watched them grow and provided fresh milkweed as necessary.  They grew very quickly into happy, healthy caterpillars. 

Once they were full grown they ventured off (to the edges of my protective netting) to affix themselves for the next stage of their journey.  This means they made a small silken thread, held on with their back pseudo-feet, and hung upside-down!  Perhaps you can see why they form the perfect example for us to examine.  Hanging upside-down by a thread.  Within about 24 hours, a green chrysalis forms and they shed their skin.  Then they wait again in this little green sac for a good 2 weeks.

Our waiting can mimic this natural process of nature.  It is a hidden waiting, a hoping for a sense of Presence; an experience of Light.  These hidden graces come in quite disguised ways: some sudden knowledge of one’s weaknesses revealed; a quiet peace that flows through the heart, letting one know that all is well, all is good.  Our final emergence, hopefully, will be as beautiful as the monarchs’, but we are still waiting for that final blossoming.  While we may go in and out of more intense periods of waiting during our life.  Some of which may feel peaceful and others feel upside-down and filled with tension, we must continue to wait in expectation.  To accept the hidden graces quietly slipped into our souls at each moment. 

Yes, at the end of our waiting and expectant hope, we too can emerge like the beautiful butterfly.  So, the next time you find yourself upside-down and inside-out, have hope. Let us together focus on the reality that a spiritual butterfly is in process.